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Topic: Misinformation

Battling disinformation, fending off despair and staying relevant: What’s the future for environmental journalism?


"Environmental journalism — much like the news business more broadly — is in a state of flux. An increasingly urgent climate crisis combined with an evolving media landscape have raised big questions that linger over our profession and our beat." In this session at the 2024 Society of Environmental Journalists conference, panelists grappled with these issues. They discussed how to combat climate disinformation, coping with the feeling of despair, new business models for journalism, and more.

Too much and not enough: The challenge of conveying trustworthy information

AAAS, Kavli Foundation

2019 AAAS Kavli winner and senior WIRED editor Maryn McKenna discusses health communication and disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. McKenna walks the audience through different examples of communications from early in the pandemic and identifies lessons learned from sharing health information during this emergency phase.

How does science misinformation affect Americans from underrepresented communities?

Boston University

"New Boston University–led research has found historically excluded and marginalized Americans may be more vulnerable to inaccurate notions about science due to 'structural and institutional power dynamics.'" The Brink, Boston University's online publication for sharing research news, spoke to paper author Michelle Amazeen about the study's findings.
Resource Database / Guide

Tip sheet: Science journalism and communication in the misinformation era

CASW Connector

On April 16, CASW Connector hosted a Chat discussing science journalism and communication in the misinformation era. The panelists talked about key concepts – and misconceptions – that journalists and communicators encounter in combating misinformation, shared insights from research on how people process information, and answered questions from the audience. This event was facilitated by Connector managing editor Kate Travis, and the panelists were: Kai Kupferschmidt, contributing correspondent at Science and Knight Science Journalism Fellow, and Briony Swire-Thompson, director of the Psychology of Misinformation Lab and assistant professor of political science, psychology, and network science at Northeastern University.

Memory and belief regression after the correction of misinformation

Harvard University; Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy

"After misinformation has been corrected individuals initially update their belief extremely well. However, this change is rarely sustained over time, with belief returning towards pre-correction levels. In this edition of the Misinformation Speaker Series, Briony Swire-Thompson discusses a study aimed to examine the mechanisms of belief regression, and whether corrected misinformation suffers more from belief regression than affirmed facts."

Misinformation, trust, and personality in journalism: A conversation with Kai Kupferschmidt

Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT

Science Magazine contributing writer Kai Kupferschmidt has "witnessed how social media — and the personalities who populate it — can impact the public’s ability to distinguish facts from fiction. Now, as a 2023-24 Knight Science Journalism Fellow, Kupferschmidt is digging deeper into those issues." In this interview, he discusses his plans for his MIT fellowship and his perspectives on misinformation and related issues.

Reducing health misinformation in science: A call to arms

"The public often turns to science for accurate health information, which, in an ideal world, would be error free. However, limitations of scientific institutions and scientific processes can sometimes amplify misinformation and disinformation... We characterize this article as a “call to arms,” given the urgent need for the scientific information ecosystem to improve. Improvements are necessary to maintain the public’s trust in science, foster robust discourse, and encourage a well-educated citizenry."
Resource Database / Guide

The Debunking Handbook 2020

The Debunking Handbook 2020 is a guide to debunking misinformation. While it was developed by climate scientists, the tactics described apply to a variety of scientific topics. The Handbook was written by 22 scientists through a consensus process and has been translated into about 20 languages.
Resource Database / Guide

The Drilled 2024 Guide to Climate Disinformation

This guide, from climate accountability newsroom Drilled, unpacks the fossil fuel industry's key misleading messages. It covers gas prices, offshore wind and whales, development in Global South countries, misleading terms, and more. Drilled plans to keep the guide updated as messaging changes.

Beyond the debunk: How science journalists can report on misinformation


"The key to correcting misinformation is to debunk it quickly, and ideally prebunk it before it even sprouts. At the ScienceWriters2022 national meeting in Memphis, journalist Kat Eschner taught attendees multiple tools for writing different types of stories to combat misinformation, in a session titled 'Beyond Fake News: Reporting on Misinformation.'" This recap article summarizes key points and resources from the session.
Resource Database / Guide

Disinformation Resource List — Floodlight & Drilled

Drilled, Spotlight

This tipsheet, compiled for a session at the 2024 Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) conference, shares an extensive list of resources for reporting on climate disinformation. The tipsheet's authors write: "There are so many different flavors of climate disinformation out there, and especially in an election year when climate is on the ballot it can feel overwhelming to sort through it all. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite resources for checking sources, following the money, and sorting fact from fiction. "

Misinformation: 3 tips to help journalists avoid being part of the problem

"In his new book, How America Lost Its Mind, Harvard Kennedy School professor Thomas Patterson charts the dramatic rise in misinformation over the past three decades. On everything from climate change to vaccines, millions of Americans hold views that are wildly at odds with the facts and are confounding efforts to deal with the nation’s policy problems." In this article, "Patterson offers journalists three tips on how to avoid being part of the misinformation problem as well as suggestions for what to do instead."

Preventing the Spread of Misinformation & Disinformation

Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA)

This statement from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) offers guidance to journalists on how to protect against spreading false and misleading information.
Resource Database / Guide

How to Responsibly Report on Hacks and Disinformation: 10 guidelines and a template for every newsroom

Stanford Cyber Policy Center

"The run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election illustrated how vulnerable our most venerated journalistic outlets are to a new kind of information warfare. Reporters are a targeted adversary of foreign and domestic actors who want to harm our democracy. And to cope with this threat, especially in an election year, news organizations need to prepare for another wave of false, misleading, and hacked information." This report offers a playbook for newsrooms to adopt that includes "core principles and standards for reporting on newsworthy events involving false, misleading and hacked information."

Why We Believe — Framing the disinformation crisis for journalists

National Press Club Journalism Institute, American Psychological Association, PEN America

"Journalism and democracy have been upended by the growth of mis- and disinformation. Countering it effectively requires understanding why people are susceptible and targeted — and how they can become more resilient. Psychological research can teach journalists how to pre-bunk disinformation and convey credibility in ways that readers, viewers, and listeners can process, which is more essential than ever as Election Day 2024 nears. The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the American Psychological Association, and PEN America produced a program on strategies for coverage that informs and empowers communities and discussed the ways disinformation has affected the practice of journalism." Panelists are: Tiffany Hsu, reporter on the technology team covering misinformation and disinformation, New York Times; Shannon Jankowski, program director, journalism and disinformation for PEN America; Jay Van Bavel, director of the Social Identity & Morality Lab and associate professor of psychology and neural science, New York University. The panel was moderated by Beth Francesco, executive director of the National Press Club Journalism Institute.
Fellowships & Grants

Pulitzer Center reporting grants

Pulitzer Center

"The Pulitzer Center partners with individual journalists and news organizations to support in-depth, high-impact reporting projects. We provide support through short-term grants and yearlong reporting fellowships. We accept applications from freelance and staff journalists worldwide." Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for grants for reporting on a wide variety of topics, including climate and labor reporting, global health reporting, and science misinformation reporting.

To help journalists cover rising temperatures, newsrooms need to start with climate literacy

Sahana Ghosh, associate editor at Nature India, describes lessons and takeaways from a workshop that she led to help Indian newsrooms address climate misinformation. "I came away with a strong conclusion: there is a clear need for climate literacy in newsrooms," Ghosh writes. "Without it, journalists cannot counter climate misinformation and disinformation, or provide good information to our audiences."

3M Truth in Science Award

Online News Association (ONA)

"This award, generously supported by 3M, honors a single story that demonstrates excellence in science journalism to educate and engage audiences while combating misinformation. Entries in this category may report across areas such as, but not limited to, health and wellness, climate change, medical and natural sciences, space science, scientific innovation, STEM education and careers, and/or the role of science in society (including issues and opportunities around stereotypes, diversity and inclusion). Journalism in a variety of mediums is encouraged and may include a combination of writing, photography, data visualization, video or audio." The Online Journalism Awards are typically open for entries in April/May and are presented at the Online News Association's annual meeting in late summer/early fall.